The marriage between T-Mobile and Sprint may be over before it even begins.
Sprint’s parent company, Japanese carrier SoftBank, plans to break off merger talks, according to a new report from Nikkei. The publication cited a dispute over ownership of the combined entity.
SoftBank may approach T-Mobile’s parent company, German carrier Deutsche Telekom, as early as Tuesday to end the deal, Nikkei said. It added that the two companies had reached a broad pact but haven’t agreed who would control the combined company. Deutsche Telekom reportedly had insisted on a controlling stake, something SoftBank initially was open to but then reconsidered, Nikkei said.
A possible merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been rumored for years but has failed to materialize. The two companies lag behind their bigger rivals, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, when it comes to the US market. Combining would give them an advantage, but critics fear having three players would reduce competition and hurt consumers.
Sprint, T-Mobile, SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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